Sunday, December 23, 2007


Padi Bukit / Padi Huma

If you remember in my earlier article entitled WHERE DO THE KADAYANS STAND IN HARI GAWAI & TADAU KAAMATAN? dated October 5, 2007, I have narrated the work processes of planting hill paddy. To refresh our memory, depicted below are the known processes as I remember them: -

1. Nataki
2. Nyuuki
3. Maimba / Nabas
4. Nunu tabasan
5. Nugal
6. Maumput
7. Ngatam and Maladun

I also mentioned other things related to planting hill paddy such as basung, takiding, siawung, maladun, ngamping, duong, lasung, halu, batingkung, etc.

As a typical Kadayan village kid in the 50s, my experience in planting hill paddy is quite good. No doubt I was still at a tender age of 6 – 7 years old then, but as I mentioned earlier, due to the harsh and challenging environment we lived in, we were matured much earlier than expected.

Out of the seven work processes mentioned above, process #1 is the most “spiritual” in nature. I said so because I have the privilege to be acquainted with the person who was well-known for performing NATAKI, none other than my grand father (from my mother side, the one I mentioned in the other blog is from my father side) himself. My grand father died in Kg Naluyan, in our house at the age of 70+ years in late sixties. He was buried in Tanjung Hubi, Mesapol. My late mother and my late uncle were buried side by side with my grand father in the same “bakut”. My late uncle and my late mother were the only children of my late grand father. My late grand father’s name was Muhammad bin Ghafar and I’m very sure some of the elders in Labuan and in Lawas still remember him. He performed NATAKI in Labuan, Lawas and of course Sipitang. He was very mobile, same like my other grand father, where he spent most of his time performing NATAKI all over the places where his service are required.

For the benefit of those who are not familiar with the term NATAKI (sounds very Japanese but it's Kadayan), let me refresh your mind. Nataki is a ritual performed to keep away SUPERNATURAL BEINGS (Jin, iblis and shaitan) from the area intended to be used as paddy cultivation. NATAKI is conducted by a very special person (usually elderly person), highly knowledgeable and spiritually competent. Adherence to the code is of paramount importance to the Kadayans people then, otherwise things wouldn't go smooth as required.

Personally I have seen how my late grand father performed NATAKI. Normally it took the whole day to perform NATAKI depending on the area and of course the “numbers of SUPERNATURAL BEINGS to be shifted from the location.”

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Firman Allah SWT di dalam Surah Ar-Rahman Ayat 15 yang bermaksud
Dan Dia mencipta jin daripada api yang tiada asap (And the jinn did He create of smokeless fire) – Surah Ar-Rahman Ayat 15

Firman Allah SWT di dalam Surah Al-Araf Ayat 11 yang bermaksud,
Kami mencipta kamu, kemudian Kami membentuk kamu, kemudian Kami berkata kepada para malaikat, "Sujudlah kamu kepada Adam"; maka mereka sujud, kecuali Iblis; ia bukanlah daripada orang-orang yang sujud. (And We created you, then fashioned you, then told the angels: Fall ye prostrate before Adam! And they fell prostrate, all save Iblis, who was not of those who make prostration) – Surah Al-Araf Ayat 11

Firman Allah SWT di dalam Surah Al-Baqara Ayat 168 yang bermaksud,
Wahai manusia, makanlah apa yang di bumi, yang halal dan baik, dan janganlah mengikuti langkah-langkah syaitan; ia adalah musuh yang nyata bagi kamu. (O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome in the earth, and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Lo! he is an open enemy for you) – Surah Al-Baqara Ayat 168

It is a tradition amongst the Kadayan community to perform NATAKI first before performing any other work processes on the land intended for paddy cultivation. The tradition is based on their belief that beings such as Jin, Iblis and Syaitan do exist as widely quoted in the holy quran. Some of the ayat referring to those beings are mentioned above.

It is not understood why the Kadayan people associate the jungle and forest as the residence of supernatural beings. Jin, Iblis and Syaitan do exist every where regardless of the jungle and forest. I would not delve into the issue; let the Kadayan experts on the topic conduct research and studies on the association of Jin, Iblis and Syaitan with the forest and jungle. I presume this again has something to do with the Kadayan people strong RELATIONSHIP WITH NATURE.

I did not have the opportunity to learn how to perform NATAKI from my late grand father, because I was still a small kid then. To me it was a great waste because none of my family members and even close relatives knows how to perform NATAKI. To me, the art of performing NATAKI is a noble deed, simply because it is something to do with lending hands to others who require them. My late grand father had been performing NATAKI for his entire life. It was his profession besides helping others through his knowledge of Kadayan traditional medicine. ”May Allah SWT bless his soul”

After performing NATAKI and the intended land for paddy cultivation is declared “safe”, all other work processes would follow suit. Planting hill paddy in actual sense was not difficult but very laborious. Clearing of forest and jungle were done bare handed by using machete, axe, baliung (a sort of cutting device), without the aid of machinery such as chain saws. Clearing of forest and jungle were not done alone by the owner, but it was done through the help of other village folks. The spirit of “togetherness” amongst the Kadayan people was so deeply embedded in their culture where all laborious tasks related to hill paddy cultivation were done through this system. This system was so effective where large area of land could be cleared within a short period of time by maybe 20 to 30 village folks.

Since this topic was discussed in my earlier article, it is not my intention to elaborate much further, suffice it is to mention here that as a typical Kadayan kid of my time, I had the opportunity to gain substantial knowledge on the hill paddy cultivation. Nevertheless I do not feel it complete, if I do not mention three most memorable things in my life about hill paddy cultivation which are “caangin, padi mangat and batat, hantimun, sikui and gandum”

It is again a tradition amongst the Kadayan community to plant cash crops such as BATAT (honey dew melon), hantimun (cucumber) and sikui (water melon) and corns / maize along side with the paddy. The crops were harvested together with the paddy and sometimes earlier.

“CAANGIN” (Kincir Angin) known as wind farm in English was a common sight in a Kadayan hill paddy cultivation. The blade of a CAANGIN is made of light wood which would be able to rotate fast upon wind blowing onto it. The blade was made in such away that it would rotate in a clockwise direction and producing sound that blends beautifully with nature. Other important components of CAANGIN are bamboo, wooden poles and dried palm leaves as tail to balance the CAANGIN. Even after more than 40 years had passed since I last heard the sound of CAANGIN, it is still fresh in my mind. It is too nostalgic a sound to be forgotten.

Sitting in a “JUNJUNG” facing the paddy field, feeling the warm breeze, listening to the sound of CAANGIN, watching flock of birds flying across the paddy field, smelling the aroma of PADI SADONG, listening to the music of the forest / jungle, having a meal of rice with salted fish wrapped with “UPIH” and ripe batat and sikui as desserts were the most memorable experience I ever had in my entire life. I wish I could turn back time.

To be continued ……….

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